Tailored functionalization of poly(L-lactic acid) substrates at the nanoscale to enhance cell response

Irene Carmagnola, Valeria Chiono, Martina Abrigo, Elia Ranzato, Simona Martinotti, Gianluca Ciardelli
Journal of Biomaterials Science. Polymer Edition 2019 February 18, : 1-20
Poly(L-lactic) acid (PLLA) has been widely employed in tissue engineering due to its mechanical properties, biodegradability and biocompatibility. The layer-by-layer (LbL) technique was here proposed as a simple method to impart bioactivity to the surface of PLLA substrates. Aminolysis treatment was applied to introduce amino groups on the surface of PLLA solvent cast films. Then, PLLA films were coated with heparin (HE)/chitosan (CH) multilayer by the LbL technique. Each functionalization step was characterized through physico-chemical and morphological analyses. Aminolysis treatment increased film surface wettability (64.8° ± 2.4° against 74.6° ± 1.3° for untreated PLLA) due to the formation of surface amino groups, which were quantified by acid orange colorimetric assay (0.05 nmol/mm2 ). After the deposition of 9 layers, the static contact angle varied between values close to 40° C (HE-based layer) and 60 °C (CH-based layer), showing the typical alternate trend of LbL coating. The successful HE/CH deposition was confirmed by ATR-FTIR and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analyses. Particularly, XPS spectra of coated samples showed the presence of nitrogen (indicative of HE and CH deposition), and sulfur (indicative of HE deposition). The amount of deposited HE was quantified by Taylor's Blue colorimetric method, after the deposition of 19 and 20 layers the HE concentration was around 33 µg/cm2. Finally, in vitro studies performed using HaCaT immortalized human skin keratinocytes, C2C12 immortalized mouse myoblasts and human fibroblasts demonstrated that HE/CH multilayer-coated PLLA is a promising substrate for soft tissue engineering, as cell response may be modulated by changing the surface chemical properties.

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